From policing pollution to sending satellites to the stars—Poland is tech’s hottest hub
When you think of technology hubs around the world, it’s probably Silicon Valley, Berlin, or London that come to mind. Poland might be a more left-field choice, but the country has come a long way in recent years, joining the European Space Agency in 2012 and implementing an increasing amount of smart technology in its cities.
I recently flew out to Katowice in southern Poland to visit a fantastic company (and client!) in Silesia. Future Processing, one of the country’s largest software development outsourcing companies, employs around 900 people and prides itself on its technical ability and innovation.
Technology companies in Poland are also benefiting from an abundance of talent to pluck from local universities. The opportunity to mix academia and work is offered and embraced, with many individuals lecturing at university while simultaneously working in innovative business tech roles.
Here are some of the best tech projects in Poland at the moment:
Water waste: Some of the most important smart city technology has its impact below ground level and out of view. Water leaks in underground pipes can be damaging, and often it’s the small water leaks—sometimes undiscovered for years—that cause the most damage. By using smart technology, a large city in Poland has been able to notify the council when a leak occurs, which saved 500 million litres of water in 2016 alone.
Policing pollution: Pollution is a problem in Poland. The country’s past dependence on coal, alongside heavy traffic, has caused heavy air pollution. To monitor this—and to find problem areas—sensors have been set up around cities in Poland to monitor pollution levels. Once high levels are detected, the government can implement legislation to reduce the potential danger to residents.
Facing up to technology: The UK might have the most CCTV cameras per capita in Europe, but Poland is steadily increasing the number of cameras around its own cities. Implementing machine learning and deep learning software into CCTV cameras has improved the accuracy of Polish monitoring cameras, alerting teams when a problem arises. This includes a car driving the wrong way down a one-way street, for example.
Space developments: An increasing amount of private companies are entering the space race, and Poland is no different. Sending satellites into space can bring numerous benefits down on Earth: from advising farmers about the requirements of their fields to monitoring global warming trends. If machine learning is applied to satellites in space, the cameras can automatically know when to send images (while monitoring cloud coverage, among other factors), which increases the accuracy of images from above.
Medical imaging: There’s no doubt that doctors are busy individuals. To help medical professionals to detect and analyse health problems in Poland, machine learning is being implemented to analyse medical scans. Humans are only able to detect a certain number of colours, but machine learning can pick up on colours, pixels, and textures that humans are unable to see. This can make the diagnosis more accurate, and can support doctors around the world.
So, move over Silicon Valley, there’s a new country getting its elbows on the technology table.